Abdulsalami, Kukah call for restraint over hate speeches

Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar. PHOTO: gettyimages

Former Head of State, General Abdulsalami Abubakar and Rev. Father Hassan Matthew Kukah yesterday in Abuja took a swipe at the political elite promoting hate speeches and calling for a break-up of the country.

They however, commended Acting President Yemi Osinbajo for taking proactive steps to nip the divisive rhetorics and separatist sentiments in the bud.A statement on the state of the nation signed by Abubakar who is Chairman and Kukah, Convener of the National Peace Committee said the developments are of serious concern to the peace committee.

They commended the Acting President for engaging with leaders of influence across the North and Southeast in bid to check the rise of mutual hostility and tension that have been stoked by elements from various parts of the country.

They appealed to more voices of leadership, reason and moderation from all communities in the country to reinforce the message of Osinbajo. The two leaders noted that: “We’ve recently come to the end of the holy month of Ramadan, for millions of Nigerians, a time of spirituality, introspection and the request for God’s forgiveness. Therefore, there could be no better time than now as a nation for us all to be thoughtful, deliberate and make ourselves worthy of divine mercy, especially in the atmosphere of a steep rise in divisive and hateful rhetoric in our country.”

They observed that “we cannot afford at this or any other time to stoke the fires of hate and divisiveness in our body politics especially when ordinary Nigerians are engaged in difficult struggles to secure their livelihood, amidst rising insecurity and increasing fear.”

In many parts of the country, the committee noted that mass killings go unpunished and unresolved, inter-communal clashes have become chronic, adding that economic deprivations and growing social exclusion and feelings of alienation, particularly among the youths are being exploited by segments of the elite with potentially dangerous and painful consequences for us all.

The statement acknowledged that the drums of rising division also reflect the perceptions by citizens that there is poor governance in Nigeria today. It blamed politicians who have failed in delivering on the mandate of the electorate for better livelihood and neighbourhood for teaming up with advocates of division and hate.

The duo stated that in many parts of the country, young people who have been left without means of livelihood or hope in their future have become converts to radicalisation preached by those it described as demagogues who resort to various guises including ethnicity and religion.

The National Peace Committee called on State governments to commit to developing their people and rely less on Abuja to fund their consumption through monthly allocations.
The duo in the statement encouraged Prof. Osinbajo and the Federal Government to remain steadfast in the steps they are taking to reassure all communities and citizens of equal stake holding in the Nigerian project insisting that Nigerians need an effective state they call their own.

To reinforce the unity of the country, they appealed that on-going efforts to reach out to leaders from various parts of the country should be broadened into honest dialogue with all segments of the Nigerian population to ensure that ordinary citizens get the opportunity to convey their views to government at the highest levels and get carried along in the formulation and implementation of government policies.

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